While talking about the New York Islanders 2018 draft class it’s easy to pass over Ruslan Iskhakov, but he actually put together a solid year at UConn.
The New York Islanders have one of the deeper prospect pools in the entire NHL. They are loaded on the blue line and have some nice prospects on the wing but center is still considered a position of need in the system.
When people talk about center prospects, the conversation begins and ends with Otto Koivula. Koivula had a fantastic first year at Bridgeport so it’s easy to see why he received such high praise but everyone is forgetting about a center prospect who showed promise in 2018-2019, Ruslan Iskhakov.
Iskhakov was the Islanders 43rd overall pick from the 2018 draft. He doesn’t get a ton of love because Oliver Wahlstrom, Noah Dobson, and Bode Wilde were drafted ahead of him in the same draft class.
In his first year in the NCAA, Iskhakov put up pretty solid numbers. In 32 games he had 21 points (6 goals, 15 assists) 13 of those points came in the final nine games. Considering his season started off with an injury scare in early October you’d have to pretty happy with the first year production in the NCAA.
Prospects like Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows struggled to put up numbers in the NCAA while Iskhakov clearly didn’t. That’s not to say Iskhakov is going to be better, I just wouldn’t ignore a second-round pick who was productive like the overall majority is doing.
Iskhakov is slated to go back to UConn next year. Keep a close eye on him to see if his game improves at the NCAA level.
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